Tuesday, June 27, 2017

RaeAnne Thayne's Serenity Harbor is a winner. #Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 8 comments
Serenity Harbor, the latest entry in RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point series came out today and I have a copy to giveaway. 
RaeAnne Thayne is always good reading, but this one's a real winner. Highly recommend.
I got a paperback ARC and it's up for grabs. Rafflecopter is at the end of this post. I use Rafflecopter because I have to email the winner and get a snail mail address. 

The link between former freewheeling spirit, Katrina Bailey and Computer-tech millionaire, Bowie Callahan, is the six-year-old brother Bowie never knew existed. Milo is nonverbal and in the autism spectrum.
Bowie desperately needs help caring for Milo until the autism specialist he's hired arrives.
Kat's only home for her sister's wedding, but Milo twines himself around her heartstrings at their first meeting in the produce section of the grocery store.
When Bowie offers her an outrageous amount of money to help out for three weeks she accepts because she needs the money to complete the adoption of the little girl she fell in love with in while working in an orphanage in Columbia.
Kat has no intention of allowing Bowie into her life no matter what sparks between them because she knows her judgment of men is flawed. Her life revolves around her goal of becoming three-year old Gabi’s new mother.
Bowie has no intention of getting involved with any woman. Since he escaped from a terrible home situation at thirteen his whole reason for being is his work. But he's finding it almost impossible to resist the sunshine that Kat is bringing into his and Milo’s world.
Against the background of Lake Haven Days and a wedding, two people who don’t know they are perfect for each other fight a losing battle to deny love.
I was completely absorbed in the back story of each of the protagonists. I don’t want to give it away because I hope you will read it for yourselves.

I have a nonverbal five year old granddaughter in the autism spectrum and I love the research that went into this book. It rings very true to life. Do any of you have children in the autism spectrum in your life.

Happy reading,  my friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Paraplegic Neurosurgeon as Hero? Read On!

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 8 comments
Lynne Marshall is a fellow member of LARARWA, the Los Angeles Chapter of RWA and one of my favorite Harlequin authors. I am so happy she agreed to blog about her latest medical romance. Because Miracle for the Neurosurgeon is a romance with a difference.
From doctor…to daddy? 
 
Neurosurgeon Wes Van Allen is used to being at the top of his game, so when an accident puts him in a wheelchair, he'll push himself to the limit to regain his strength—he just needs a physical therapist who can keep up! 
 
Enter Mary Harris, whose sweet kisses he's never forgotten! She'll help Wes achieve his dream, if he helps her achieve hers—a baby! Captivated by Mary's sunny optimism, dare Wes hope for the ultimate miracle—a family, with Mary by his side?

Thanks so much for inviting me to blog.  On May 1st, my nineteenth Medical Romance was released and I’m super happy about this particular story.  Miraclefor the Neurosurgeon is also my twenty-fourth book for Harlequin.
This is the first time I’ve written a disabled hero in a wheel chair. With the guidance of my editor, Flo Nicoll, I was able to keep what could have been a downbeat story upbeat and filled with hope. 
Wes Van Allan, a new paraplegic wants to continue with his medical practice as a neurosurgeon, but he goes about it all wrong. Mary Harris, a doctor of Physical Therapy, shows up on his doorstep to help the previously privileged, pampered and sometimes arrogant “Prince of Westwood” turn his life around. Of course, he isn’t a real prince, he’s just been treated like one by his family his entire life, and Mary is the person from his past who holds the key to his future.
I won’t lie, reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, that beautiful tragedy, put the idea for this book in my head.  I’m a romance writer and reader first and foremost, I need a happy ending, so I set out to give a guy whose life has been turned upside down from a spinal cord injury, a completely different plot. This is a story about a reunion between two strong willed people, and Mary is the perfect person who can both help Wes heal emotionally and physically to the best of his ability. She is also the one person who can bring love into his life again.
Doing research for the book was fascinating discovering all the strides that have been made for
paralyzed patients. I learned about an amazing Orthopedic doctor who devised a wheelchair that, using hydraulics, could lift him from sitting to standing so he could continue doing surgeries while safely supported and strapped into his chair. Wes, being the man he is, immediately upon learning of this device, orders one for himself. It opens the door for his return to work as a neurosurgeon, a calling he has felt since his teenage years.
I also loved learning how para and quadriplegics can drive, and wrote a scene where Wes takes Mary out to a special restaurant in Malibu, California.
I was touched by a recent review from a reader who is also in a wheelchair. She was very complimentary about the story, but had some reservations: “I would have been happier enjoying a HEA with a character who was successful in a wheelchair without the miracles of modern technology. Overall, the book is excellent and I highly recommend it!”
What I did in the epilogue wasn’t meant to be a cure for his disability, it was a chance for a guy who gets tired of looking up peoples noses all day, to stand and walk from time to time using an exoskeleton. The occasional walk around the room, thanks to advances in technology, was simply another skill to add to his repertoire. That device wasn’t what completed Wes, nor was it responsible for his success. His will to live and return to work and, of course, be wise enough to fall in love with Mary, were responsible for that. I prefer to think of it as the icing on his happy ending cake!
Do you know a “special” hero? Please share!
Thank you, Lynne. This is one book I have to read.  I just bought my copy for my Kindle app.
Dear, ones, this book is available across all formats. Here is the Goodreads link which will take you to your favorite link. Happy reading.
Lynne used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming, then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart. She is a Southern California native, married for almost thirty years, has two adult children she is super proud of, is a dog lover, cat admirer, a power walker, and fellow traveler on this wild road called life! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dogs and Romance and Ryan Jo Summers

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Ryan Jo Summers has a new romance out which sounds like so much fun.
Blurb: 
Practical city planner, Cassidy Grant, just inherited her sister's beloved dogs. Excepts she's a career girl more into heels and matching accessories. She's not a dog mom. Worse, she is required to take the furry darlings to the dog park.
Jilted at the alter, Ethan Sheppard finally got a dog. And he loves their bonding trips to the dog park. He's also the secret cartoonist whose drawings poke fun at the city leadership that might hurt the mayor's chances at reelection.
After Cassidy and Ethan meet, she asks for his help to manage the pups, and along the way, he learns she will be fired if she can't identify the cartoonist to her boss. But telling her will cost his job.
Excerpt:
Jake pulled eagerly at his leash, his long tail whipping in the air as they neared the park entrance. Swinging the gate open just enough to allow them through, Ethan unhooked the leash, releasing Jake. With a bark, he was gone, racing to join his canine pals.
     Looping the leash through his belt, Ethan stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans and studied the attendees. He offered a friendly wave to some of the doggie moms and dads that he knew. A few of the dogs came up, wagging around, begging a pat, before racing off again.
     “Jake’s looking good.”
     Ethan spun around at the feminine purr behind him, feeling himself go tense. “Yep, he loves these morning runs,” he replied to the brunette standing almost eye to eye with him. He’d figured out pretty quick Gwen was hot into him weeks ago. The fact that she came to this park, when there were others closer to her, was a good indicator. She never brought a dog, so he surmised she just came to prowl around, sniffing for available males. And it seemed he was pretty high up on her list of desirable ones. So far, he’d been unsuccessful in convincing her he didn’t return the favor. He wasn’t into needy lionesses on the hunt. She had a way to make him feel like a chunk of raw meat.
     She inched closer, enough for him to breathe in her almost overpowering perfume. Some floral stuff mixed with more flowers. Sort of like walking into a funeral parlor full of sympathy bouquets. Her ample bosom brushed his sleeve and he inched further back.
     “And what about you, Ethan? What do you love in the morning?”
     He could imagine what she wanted to hear, and he wasn’t about to encourage her. He rocked back another step. “Coffee,” he replied instead. “Bacon and eggs. Pancakes.”
     Her hopeful smile slowly faded. Whatever she might have said back was lost when he heard a cry of frustration and a gleeful bark. Whirling, he looked for the source of the sounds.
     “Remi! Stop that!”
     He recognized the little brown and white ticked dog racing freely now that his leash was dropped. Or pulled from the hand of the woman in bright red heels. Heels? At a dog park? Her black business suit and red hat looked equally out of place. And didn’t she know you were supposed to take their leashes off inside the fence? Apparently not, because the other little dog was still attached to her leash as well, wrapped around the woman’s wrist. Now that her partner was free, the little blond and white dog spun in circles, mad to join him. In her hand the hapless women clutched a cell phone, wedged up near her ear.
     Rocking back on his heels, he took in the show, smothering a smile. Remi, full of freedom, darted just far enough to stay out of reach but close enough to keep the woman in pursuit. The woman, a pretty, petite blond with a serious up do topped by a rolled brim chenille hat, stumbled along in her heels and all but dragging the scruffy Chi/terrier along. She alternated between hissing at Remi through clenched teeth then pushing the phone back to her ear to talk rapidly to someone.
     Seeing she wasn’t making much ground, Ethan settled himself on a bench to watch, arms spread out comfortably. Gwen faded away like a ghostly specter. He remembered Remi, a Parsons Russell terrier and Australian Shepherd mixture, as being a handful on the best of days. The smaller one, a terrier/ Chihuahua and question mark, always struck him as a cute, well behaved pooch. Except, he’d never seen the pair here with the blond. He’d definitely remember her.
     “Remi!” She whispered fiercely to the little dog, who was having a delightful time, barking over his shoulder at her. She pressed the phone back up. “No, Adam, I agree we have to stay on schedule with this project. Any delay now could be disastrous. Tessa, come on! Yes, I have a meeting tomorrow with Mr. King and I should have some solid answers then.” She lowered the phone, eyes cutting into the dog. “Remi!” She slapped the phone back to her ear. “What? No, everything’s just fine, why do you ask? Where am I? Oh, out enjoying one of the offerings of our fine community. It’s such a pleasant morning, I thought why not, right?” She offered a strained chuckle.
     It was all Ethan could do to hold back his laughter. Clearly, she was trying to hold a meeting of some sort. Didn’t she know a park, full of barking dogs and yelling people was the last place for that?
     Finally, she hung up the call, tripping over Tessa’s leash. Checking on Jake, Ethan climbed to his feet. He’d have to save these dogs from this woman or this woman from herself, he wasn’t sure which.
Ryan Jo, I love your premise. What was the inspiration for It Happened at The Park
The inspiration for this story is rooted in my adoption of a dog, a blue-merle collie called Ty. I adopted Ty in March 2015 and after a few months, I started taking him to a couple of our local dog and community parks. It was during these visits while watching Ty learn the finer points of canine social skills, that the seeds for “It Happened at the Park” sprouted and grew.
I had wanted to write a romantic comedy and felt this would be the perfect vehicle of choice. I had wanted to re-name Ty ‘Ethan’. However, my friends quickly nixed that, stating it was not a name for a dog. So instead my hero became Ethan Sheppard. (German Shepherds being my second favorite breed of dog behind the collie. How is that for original?)
Many times, while writing this story, I would hit a wall. I’d grab Ty’s leash and my keys and we’d head to our favorite dog park, where he could run and I could walk around and loosen up the clogged wheels in my head. A few of the scenes in “Park were spun off actual events that happened during our visits.
What is it like writing for a theme compared to not following a specific theme? This book isn’t necessarily written to any theme, other than humor. Ethan is a political cartoonist. I have three books out that are theme-regulated. One stand-alone for Valentine’s, one Christmas anthology, and one food-themed anthology. Years ago I wrote a short memoir for a Hard Times themed contest and took Honorable Mention. I like the idea of writing along a certain theme in that it keeps one on track.
Characters have a tendency to do things you as a writer had not planned, or end up changing their names, professions, or whatever. At least when the writer is writing for theme, it’s something that won’t change. Valentine’s Day won’t become New Years’ and food won’t turn into motorcycles.
How has your writing changed since you first released your debut book? 
Wow, I actually have ten books out now (counting this one releasing June 13th). And still two more in the wings for November. It hardly seems possible. All that writing, coupled with my free-lance work, has taught me to trust myself as a writer.
Before, I had to have a rigid outline, expected word count and clear ending in sight—before I’d start writing. I do not like surprises in general and didn’t trust myself or my characters to not waver much from the initial thoughts. I think that held me back as a writer at first.
Somewhere around ‘Chasing the Painted Skies” (novel # 4) I finally learned to loosen up and have fun, to look for the unexpected. I would have to say “Painted Skies” and “It Happened at the Park” have been the most fun stories to write so far.
An unpublished manuscript, called “September’s Song”, has taught me to work without a safety net—the outline—and just let the characters grow into themselves and the plot unfold around them. It is sort of liberating, really, to reach that point in my writing. My upcoming Christian romance novel and previous Christian novel (“Beside Still Waters”) both have certain characters that really jumped off the page and took over. While others I had bigger plans for ended up being content to take a backseat in the story. Little surprises like that are what make writing interesting. I have learned to enjoy the characters for who they want to be, not necessarily who I think they ought to be. Just like real children.
Other than that, I have almost tamed my nemesis--the dreaded multiple POV or head-hopping. I am acutely aware of it now when I start and it leaps off the page when others write that way. It is amazing that something I never noticed before now screams as it jumps out at me.
Work in Progress? Another time travel, my favorite trope of romance.  A woman from present day with physic abilities is transported back three hundred years by a cursed locket belonging to her ancestor. She is kidnapped by the period’s most ruthless, feared, and charming pirate. Except he thinks she is Lady Elizabeth Wyngate, an Earl’s daughter. What could go wrong?
When I adopted Ty, I started a journal and blog to chronicle our journey through his PTSD issues. I am now working on turning those into a Kindle KDP book to self-publish hopefully later this year. My intention is two-fold: one, to give inspiration to others and share our triumphs and tragedies with others who adopt a troubled animal, and 2, to give some of the proceeds back to the collie rescue group where I adopted Ty from.
And, because I never want to be bored, I am working on building the skeleton of two more stories in the que. Another time travel and a women’s fiction novel. The WF will be about three estranged triplets brought back together by a fierce wildfire. I enjoy stories within stories and those dealing with siblings and twins. To my knowledge, there isn’t one with triplets. Three POV? Oh wow.
Actually, the idea for that one came to me while wildfires were actually burning through the mountains around my home last fall. I was outside, clearing the leaves away from the house as the nearest one burned about nine miles away. I was waiting for the evac order. And this notion popped into my head about a huge wildfire spreading through a town, and two different sibling’s POV’s came to me. I rushed inside to scribble it down and then added the third one after most the fires had been contained. Thankfully I never had to evacuate.

Bio: Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.

She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.
She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.
Links: WEBSITE: http://www.ryanjosummers.com/
BLOG: https://www:summersrye.wordpress.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Jo-Summers-author-page
AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ACOBJ90     

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Erin Bevan's Inspiration for her Sweet Biker Romance, Tank #giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
I asked author Erin Bevan every author's favorite question: Where do you get your ideas?
She responded graciously with a post and a giveaway of one ebook copy of Tank. Please leave a comment which includes your email address to enter. Blessings!

Ideas; I am always looking for them. I might hear something, see something, and it doesn’t matter what it is, how big or small, it can lead to a wonderful array of new ideas. Or it can not.
TANK came about accidentally. I was out with a group of friends at an arcade of all places. We were sitting at a table, having a few drinks, eating less than delicious nachos when someone mentioned bikers. I don’t know how, or why this topic came up. All of those details have become lost to me, but what stuck out the most was someone mentioned a biker group that did good. BACA-Bikers Against Child Abuse, and how they stand guard at abused children’s homes if they felt scared or worried about their abuser coming back. Day or night, these big, burly, tattooed men would stand guard-for children. The idea brings tears to my eyes now.

These guys, these Average Jo Hero’s, will attend the child’s court date as a support group for the abused, let the kid ride on the back of their bikes, give the child a bandana, and do whatever possible to make the kid feel a part of the group all while surrounding the child with love.

When I heard about these guys, I had to research them. I had to know what they were about, and an idea formed. What if I had a guy who suffered a nasty past? What if I had a guy who set out to help abused children? And of course, us writers are always told to make our stories bigger in every way, so then I thought, what if this big, bad, good guy biker falls in love with someone he is trying to protect? A woman. And what if…just what if that woman was engaged…to a cop?

And that’s how TANK was born, during a desperate housewife’s night out with her girlfriends, at an arcade playing laser tag, drinking pricey drinks, and eating crappy food.
You just never know when inspiration will strike. 
Thanks for that story, Erin. Here's the blurb and an excerpt for TANK  It sounds great. 
Blurb:
Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter.
Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police.
Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

Excerpt:
The sun seared Tyler’s back, causing sweat to pour down the length of his spine and his T-shirt to stick to his skin. Nothing like the gulf coast humidity to make a man feel as if he was frying from the inside out.

Rose bushes around the town square bloomed giant Pepto-Bismol pink petals, while a gentleman in blue overalls tended to the flowers like they were his babies. Tossing a wave to the man, he rounded the corner on Holly Drive and parked his bike in front of Sandi’s, the local diner. The undercurrent scent of flowers, bacon, and fried donuts drifted in the air. Man heaven. Except for the flowery part. He’d driven by the diner everyday for two weeks but had yet to pop in. If the food tasted as good as it smelled he might have to make this place a regular hang out.

He pushed through the heavy wooden door as a bell rang overhead. Weaving around customers, all giving him a curious stare, he strolled up to the takeout cash register. Glass cases filled with donuts and the biggest kolaches he’d ever seen stared back at him. His stomach growled.

He eyed the case, his mouth watering, as he waited on a server to notice him.
“Be right there,” a tall, shapely blonde called out from across the restaurant as she handed another table their check. He’d been wrong. To hell with the donuts and bacon. She was man heaven.

A few escaped strands from her ponytail framed her face, and the closer she got to him the darker the black circles under her eyes appeared.

A spark of recognition fired in his brain while an equally hot spark ignited a red flag in his gut. It wasn’t her slightly unkempt hair or her pure look of exhaustion that rubbed him the wrong way. Despite all of that, she was still beautiful.

But her clothes. Her clothes had his head reeling.

She wore long sleeves.

In June.

In Texas.

“What can I get you?” The beauty stared up at him.

He shook off the strange feeling. A bead of sweat dripped down her forehead, fell onto her chest, and into her shirt. Her nametag was positioned right by the tantalizing skin of her chest. Annie.

Mercy.

He glanced down at the donut case. Stare at the food, big guy.

I need two dozen glazed donuts, two dozen chocolate, and a dozen sausage kolaches.”

“Got a lot to feed?” Annie grabbed a box from the counter behind her and placed it on top of the glass case in front of him.

“Yeah, Donut Day, or so I was told. It’s my turn to bring breakfast, and there’s about a dozen mechanics over at Rakes expecting it.”

“Rakes? You must be new,” a redheaded waitress noted as she rounded the corner and filled a customer’s coffee cup. While she was cute, she had a wet-behind-the-ears look to her. He’d stick with Beauty.

He nodded. “I am.”

“I’ve got your table seven covered while you do this, Annie. No big deal.”

“Thanks, Gina.” The blonde smiled at the redhead before returning her attention back to him. “I’ve brought my car to Rakes a few times, and I’ve never seen you.” Beauty grabbed a towel from the counter to wipe the sweat off her forehead, then dabbed her chest near a gold locket that hugged her collarbone.

Shit.

Her tasseled hair seemed sexier the more she dabbed. He’d never been as jealous of a towel in his whole life, the cotton fibers taunting him with their task.

He averted his gaze from the towel and her amazing chest before she labeled him a pervert. Not exactly the reputation he wanted for his new life.

“I’m sad I didn’t get to work on your car.”
God, what a horrible pick-up line. She probably thought he was a giant perv and a complete moron.

She flashed him a half-smile that burned his insides. The diamond on her finger nearly blinded him as she brushed a stray strand from her forehead. The fire inside of him fizzled out like baking soda to a grease fire.

He forced a grin then shot his gaze down to the pastry case.

“Though, I will say…” She tossed the towel aside and stared at him. “Something about your face looks oddly familiar.”

Me? Familiar?

He glanced back up. “Yours does, too, but I don’t really see how.” The spark in his brain burned brighter the more he stared at her.

“Are you from here, or is your family from here?”

“I’m not, but my grandpa was. He lived in a cabin about ten miles outside of town.”

“By Virginia Creek, right? Mr. Wooly.” Her smile grew. “Yeah, you used to come visit him. You guys would go fishing.”

“How’d you know?” He’d never talked to anyone when he came to visit his grandpa. He’d stayed in the woods, hidden and safe. Or at least, that’s how he’d felt.

He stared at her a bit longer. The blue in her eyes reignited a small light of recognition.

Could it be?
“I remember you.” She grabbed a pair of tongs off the counter top. “I used to play out by the water, and I would see you across the creek casting your line. You taught me how to skip rocks one day.”

Moments of his past flashed across his mind. It was her.

The girl across the water.

Bio:
Six years ago and nothing more than a desperate housewife, Erin Bevan began her writing journey.

As a child, reading and writing were her nemeses. It wasn’t until she found herself almost utterly alone, in a different country, that she took up the act of reading for enjoyment. Her passion for writing was born not by reading the old classics, but by reading many new tried and true authors of today: Nora Roberts, Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Tracy Brogan to name a few.
 
Clinging to books for friends in a land where not many spoke the English language, she found a secret passion she didn’t know existed inside of her. With nothing more than time on her hands, she honed in on the craft of writing until she finally worked up enough courage to let other people read her stories.

She spends most of her time juggling her three little people and trying to keep everyone’s lives flowing as smoothly as possible. When she isn’t using her super powers to wipe sticky goo from her children’s faces, she spends a little time dabbling in her writing career.

Connect with Erin Bevan online.